Dorchester District 2 board members gave Superintendent Joe Pye such a glowing review at their meeting Monday that Pye was wiping away tears by the time it was over.

After several other board members praised his leadership, Chairwoman Gail Hughes brought the crowd to its feet when she said, “We believe in you. We always have and we always will.”

Pye, 65, has been superintendent of the district since 1999.

On Aug. 12, the board discussed Pye’s evaluation during a closed session that S.C. Press Association attorney Jay Bender called illegal because it was not advertised on the agenda and because it appeared the school board violated the state Freedom of Information Act by voting in executive session.

During the process, each board member met privately with Pye in the weeks leading up to that meeting, and then board members discussed their opinions in the closed session. Afterward, Hughes said the board had decided Pye “exceeds expectations.”

On Monday, the board unanimously approved a letter to Pye outlining his strengths, which included increasing the graduation rate and helping to ensure the passage of the district’s $179 million building referendum, and suggesting that he could improve communications and relationships with the board.

Several board members also said they would like to see Pye delegate more duties.

In accordance with Pye’s contract, he received a one-year extension to June 30, 2016, and a 2 percent cost of living raise, the same amount given to district employees this year. It brings his salary to $167,123.

Reach Brenda Rindge at 937-5713 or